Everyone is aware of the multiple attacks that happened in Paris this past week. The saddest part is that this was not the only horrific act of violence to occur. Two suicide bombers walked into a Beirut marketplace a day before the Paris attacks, which resulted in 44 dead and 200+ injured. Many deaths in the African villages of Ndassima & Mala (as part of ongoing religious violence) took place Monday. Tuesday saw dozens killed in a bombing in Nigeria, as well as a Russian jet destroyed by a bomb over Egypt. Add to that the seemingly endless string of fatal incidents here in the U.S. – whether they be incidents against law enforcement…by law enforcement…or yet another mass shooting.
The World as a whole is under siege by these and other assaults. This fire of violence has only been fueled by the irrational, fear & hate filled reactions by those who’ve heard of them. The masses are rejecting the idea of taking in Syrian refugees for fear that they will be terrorists. The majority of comments I have seen on social media have been disappointing to say the least. Many have come from our pool of G.O.P. presidential…candidates, but the number from regular everyday folks of all walks of life and faiths (including pagans) is overwhelming.
What people in this country seem to be forgetting is that refusing these refugees dishonors the values of this country. The Statue of Liberty tells us this herself.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
It is up to us to end the violence. Each and every one of us, as individuals, holds some level of responsibility on the journey to world peace. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was asked about his view of the Paris attacks. He commented on the levels of violence and bloodshed of the 20th century and concluded that this century’s violence is in effect a spill-over of those acts. So, what should we do? His Holiness says:
“People want to lead a peaceful lives. The terrorists are short-sighted, and this is one of the causes of rampant suicide bombings. We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.
We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest. So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments.”
I think that’s some pretty good advice. We need to work for peace, and we need to start at home, and EXTEND that spirit of peace beyond that of our friends and family. Rain compassion down on those who need it. Do something to help someone in need. Let go of any attitudes that make you question whether or not someone in need “deserves” help…just help.
Forget about the concepts of “Us” and “Them” for we are all one. “Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace…”
I may be a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. So let’s all Imagine, and Give Peace a Chance.
I saw something on Pinterest yesterday that really jumped out at me. It said “Forgive them even if they’re not sorry”. It seems I needed the reminder. It’s difficult though…forgiving someone can sometimes feel like defeat, especially if the offending party has no remorse for whatever it is that they’ve done or said (or NOT done or said). However, the truth of the matter is, you don’t forgive for the sake of others…you forgive for the sake of yourself.
Sometimes it’s an exercise in compassion (See Giles Quote from the Buffy-verse below). If you take the time to learn the reasons or circumstances that have led the person to behave or act in a certain manner…if you can at least see the situation from their point of view, it may not change your opinion about the terribleness of said deed, but if you can at least understand what brought them to that course of action, it is easier to forgive them and let it go.
To forgive is an act of compassion…it’s not done because people deserve it, it’s done because they need it.”
RUPERT GILES, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Grudges do not serve those who hold them, they poison the soul. They take hold and breed distrust and insecurities about ourselves and others. Seriously, who the hell needs that?!?! Nobody says you have to stay friends, or in a relationship, or talk to whomever it is that hurt you…deciding that has nothing to do with forgiveness, that’s a separate matter. Forgiving them lightens the burden on your soul, thus allowing you to continue on and lead a happy life.
Think of it this way: Forgiveness doesn’t excuse what’s been done. Forgiveness prevents what’s been done from destroying your heart & soul.
This also applies to yourself. Did you totally screw something up? Lie to someone? Make a bad choice? Flub up a presentation or project? Well, guess what? I know you’re awesome and everything, but here’s a little secret: You’re also human. Aaaaand Now, I’m hearing Human League in my head: “I’m only human. Of flesh and blood I’m made. Human….born to make mistakes”. It’s sappy 80’s cheese, but I LOVE IT! Besides, they make a hugely valid point. We all make mistakes, so why dwell on them?
Forgiveness doesn’t mean being a doormat….because who says you have to hate someone forever?? Hopefully nobody, because that doesn’t do anybody any good.
I’ll leave you with this…a couple years ago I watched a talk His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gave that was streamed live via the internet (don’t you just LOVE technology???). Anyway, during this talk, he said that forgiveness is not to accept the wrongdoing of others….and that retaining feelings of anger, hatred and stress do more harm to YOU than they do to those you are harboring them towards. Then he defined what forgiveness really is, and that definition will be my final word on the subject (for today, at least).